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Yang Liu, Thomas Malaby, and Daniel Miller

Scholarship has frequently struggled with several pairs of dichotomies as it has sought to understand the digital: real vs. virtual, authentic vs. mediated, openness (freedom) vs. closure (control), and community vs. network. In order to make conceptual headway without falling into these traps, we turn in this article to the concept of indexicality. We urge an account of the digital that sees it as a resource for social action, one with the capacity to reduce and abstract as well as to differentiate and proliferate, recognizing both of these as potential projects that social actors may undertake. We offer the operation of money as an instructive analogy for how we may identify both the abstracting and the specifying dimensions of the digital.

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Something Better

Hegemony, Development, and Desire in Guatemalan Export Agriculture

Edward F. Fischer and Peter Benson

This article examines non-traditional export production of broccoli, snow peas, and other crops in Guatemala. Focusing on Maya farmers, exporters, and government development officials, we trace the production of the desire to grow these crops, to make some extra money, and to enhance local and national economies. We find that the export business has left farmers shortchanged even as it has opened new possibilities of algo más (something more or better). We examine how this empirical paradox has emerged from the convergence and divergence of power relations and affective desires that produce the processes known as 'hegemony' and 'resistance'. We conclude by considering alternative ethnographic strategies for understanding the multifarious connections between power and desire, hegemony and culture.

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Henning Tewes, Germany, Civilian Power and the New Europe. Enlarging NATO and the European Union (New York: Palgrave, 2002)

Review by James Sperling

Andreas Huyssen, Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003)

Review by Eric Langenbacher

Maria Höhn, GIs and Fräuleins: The German-American Encounter in 1950s West Germany (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002)

Review by Atina Grossmann

James McAllister, No Exit: America and the German Problem, 1943-1954, Cornell Studies in Security Affairs (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2002)

Review by Robert Gerald Livingston

Hubert Zimmermann, Money and Security: Troops, Monetary Policy, and West Germany’s Relations to the United States and the United Kingdom, 1950-1971 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Review by Thomas Banchoff

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Elite de Façade et Mirages de l’Independance

Les Petits Entrepreneurs Etrangers en France dans l’Entre-Deux-Guerres

Claire Zalc

In the literature, immigrant entrepreneurs are described as the élite of the best “integrated” immigrants. Histories of migrant communities all insist on the role of the entrepreneurs as the center of the community and the symbol of social success. In this paper, I will discuss the diverse social meaning attached to being an entrepreneur for an immigrant in Paris during the interwar period. In order to describe the social position of immigrant entrepreneurs, I worked on professional careers, based on the study of more than two hundred applications for French nationality from foreign entrepreneurs during the first half of the twentieth century. It's hard to conclude that there is a one-way social mobility of entrepreneurs, either ascendant or descendent. While some went from the working class to owning a shop, eventually able to spend and save money, others became entrepreneurs as a necessity rather than choice.

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Michael Humphrey, Mark T. Berger, Clive Kessler, and Souchou Yao

Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), pp. xii+353. (Reviewer: Mark T. Berger).

Akhil Gupta, Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India (Durham: Duke University Press, 1998), pp. xv + 410. (Reviewer: Mark T. Berger).

Fernando Coronil, The Magical State: Nature, Money and Modernity in Venezuela, (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1997), pp. xvii+447, photos, notes, bibliography, index. (Reviewer: Souchou Yao).

James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. (New Haven and London: Yale U.P., 1998), pp. xiv+445, notes, index, illustrations. (Reviewer: Clive Kessler).

Slavoj Zizek, Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? Five Interventions in the (Mis)use of a Notion. (Verso: London and New York, 2001), pp. 280. (Reviewer: Michael Humphrey).

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Ziyodakhon Rasulova

With a focus on the Republic of Uzbekistan, this article aims to explain the enduring survival of the custom known as qalin (bride price, bride money), in spite of efforts to eliminate it in the past, and seeks to reveal the incomprehensible - even somewhat enigmatic - reasons for its present existence. Because this practice was burdensome for poor people, some attempts were made to abolish or replace it, for example, by having the bridegroom work instead of paying the qalin, by interchanging girls between two families or by having the bride's kinsmen cover the costs of the wedding. One custom even involved paying a qalin by instalments. As the article demonstrates, despite criticisms and its negative aspects, the qalin still has a place in the lives of Uzbeks.

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Going Nowhere

Tourist Practices and Photographic Representations of Tourists in Small World by Martin Parr

Maria Nilsson

There are few places where a contemporary traveller can ignore the fact that tourism has become much more than an individual act. The tourism industry has grown rapidly, in particular since the 1950s (Smith 1989: 1) and tourism is currently one of the largest sectors of the global economy. More people engage in leisure travel today than ever before, a result of increased affluence and leisure time among inhabitants of the world’s most wealthy countries. If you have the money, it is easier now than ever to travel to far-away places. The flip-side of this coin of mobility is an increased pressure on host cultures (Smith 1989: 17) and the transformation of the most visited places into attractions (MacCannell 1976: 52) catering to the ever-increasing number of tourists. Some critics, like Urry, see the growth of tourism as a democratisation of travel (1990: 156) while others, including Smith and MacCannell, lament the homogenisation and commercialisation of tourist attractions.

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From Cutting to Fading

A Relational Perspective on Marriage Exchange and Sociality in Rural Gambia

Tone Sommerfelt

Based on 21 months of field research on the northern bank of the Gambia River, this study deals with ceremonial exchange and sociality among rural Wolof speakers. In exploring the procurement and distribution of bridal trousseaus, I examine the process of exchange that shapes and limits these potentially endless affinal networks and analyze the social forms that arise from these complex sets of transfers. It is argued that redistributions of objects and money do not establish definite boundaries around units based on categorical exclusion and inclusion, but rather gradual distinctions of social proximity. In effect, I question the appropriateness of the concept of the 'cutting' of networks in this West African setting, proposing instead that 'fading' paints a clearer picture of the particular ways in which affinal networks are limited and relationships are rendered recognizable.

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Payment

Forms and Functions of Value Transfer in Contemporary Society

Bill Maurer

Renewed anthropological attention to money and finance is welcome. However, recent attention to the ghosts in the financial machine neglects the infrastructures of payment that make finance possible. Following professionals and policymakers into the clearance and settlement of payments - the means of value transfer - affords insight into an industry hotly contested by new entrants and by a few critics who find in its business model a defiance of market logic. The tolls and fees of private payment infrastructures pose challenges to critical analyses of capitalism as well as to the public interest in payment, even as they are essential to the forms and functions of value transfer. Everyday exchanges are tolled, large-scale transfers are not: the article suggests that payment is a pressing political concern, as well as an analytical one.

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Sergio Rizzo and Gian Antonio Stella

In this chapter, the efforts of the Italian ruling class to cut the costs of politics during 2012 are analyzed. An informal division of labor was established between Monti's executive, which was to take care of budgetary problems, and the Parliament, which was supposed to tackle the frequent scandals of corruption and public money mismanagement. The results of the latter's efforts were amply (and predictably) disappointing, justifying once more the low levels of trust that citizens display toward politicians. In particular, we consider five points: the expenditure cuts by the constitutional bodies, the failure to reduce the number of MPs, the effort to cut back on the public funding of political parties, the “anarchy” of regional expenditures, and the inability to decide about the abolition of provincial government.